BERLIN- The Berlin Little League 9-10 All-Stars completed a magic run to a Maryland District 8 championship on Wednesday, beating visiting Fruitland, 4-0, in a steady rain to advance to the state tournament.
Throughout the District 8 tournament, Berlin utilized the perfect combination of stingy pitching, timely hitting and stellar defense to roll to a 5-0 record and advance out of pool play to face Fruitland in the title game. On Monday, Berlin routed West Salisbury, 11-0, to reach the district championship game at home.
On Wednesday, steady late afternoon showers threatened the push back the championship, but the game started as planned and Berlin wasted no time getting out to a 2-0 early lead. Fruitland threatened in the early innings, but the Berlin defense kept zeroes on the scoreboard. In the second, Fruitland had two runners on with one out before the Berlin right fielder caught a fly ball and doubled the Fruitland runner off first.
In the top of the second, Fruitland had two on and not outs, but Berlin got the first out by picking off a runner trying to advance to third on a passed ball. The next Fruitland batter lined out to second baseman Matt Kinsey, who doubled off the runner at second to end the threat.
With Berlin leading 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Tristan McDonough drove a long ball to deep left center for a solo home run and a 3-0 Berlin lead. Berlin added a run in the bottom of the fifth on a two-out double by Hayden Snelsire that scored Ryan Duncan from first to extend the lead to 4-0.
Meanwhile, the rain stopped, the sun came out and the Berlin pitchers, who had been so dominating throughout the district playoffs settled into a groove. When McDonough punched out the last Fruitland batter in the bottom of the sixth, the Berlin 9-10 team had secured the Maryland District 8 championship.
The final out touched off a wild celebration by the Berlin coaches and players, who first posed calmly with the new District 8 championship banner before taking it on a victory lap around the outfield. After more team pictures, Manager Cameron McDonough was showered with a ceremonial cooler full of ice water. With the district championship win, the Berlin 9-10 team advances to the state tournament, which gets underway in Brunswick in Western Maryland tomorrow.